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Clearly Canadian, clearly a rip-off?

(FINANCE) Nearly two years ago fans were promised the return of the beloved Clearly Canadian beverages, two years later, consumers still don’t have their products.

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Failure to launch

Two years ago, the nostalgia-inducing beverage company, Clearly Canadian, launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund a re-launch of their company, as well as, their beverages.

bar
Even though the company was successful in their campaign, no-doubt a testimonial to the popularity of the company, many people who backed the campaign are angry.

People are peeved

The Consumerist recently broke this story, detailing even though it has been more than a year since the company finally started shipping out pre-orders to those who backed it (remember, the campaign was TWO years ago), some customers say their orders still aren’t complete.

Say what?

A Clearly Canadian spokeswoman, Jennifer Black, told Consumerist that 9,000 cases had been produced and shipped and that the remaining 16,000 cases would be produced and shipped starting in August through September.

The company has stated several reasons for the delay ranging from “lack of funds” to a “closed manufacturing facility.”

Neither one of which are very helpful for the campaign backers who are out the money and without their products. Unfortunately, this is not the first time a crowdfunding campaign has gone sour. We discussed two instances of bad crowdfunding behavior: one involving marketing cheap watches as high-end timepieces, and the other, stall tactics (similar to Clearly Canadian).

Remember the Peachy Printer “scam?”

One Kickstarter campaign promised backers a 3D printer for under $100 and backers couldn’t get enough of it – but there was a big problem, which we covered here (hint: it didn’t go as planned either).

The beginning of a much larger problem

Every online marketplace from Etsy to Ebay, sees its share of marketing scams, apparently, crowdfunding is no exception.

However, as more of these types of scams and stall tactics begin to emerge, more and more people are going to shy away from using these types of platforms.

Two years of waiting is more than patient, especially when the product was supposed to be rolled out to the consumer by a specific deadline (October 2015).

Clearly they could handle this better

I call shenanigans. When they began their campaign, they set a goal of $50,000; not only did they meet this goal, but they far and away exceeded it – raising $153,033. They stated that these funds would be used to “bring back Clearly Canadian.” While they have stated time and time again that the closing of one plant has delayed production, they should have had a back-up plan in place just in case something unforeseen happened, or refunded their backers’ money.

Either way, I don’t believe that making their backers wait for two+ years is acceptable.

It certainly won’t engender the Clearly Canadian brand to those who were obviously so passionate about it and wanted to bring it back.

Especially given their “philosophy” that is posted on their crowdfunding page:

“We do not believe in “customers” in any traditional sense. Whether correct or not – we believe in friends and family and see our relationship with those who interact with Clearly Canadian (meaning you) as long-term based on shared beliefs about what makes for a healthy life based on good thoughts, good words and good deeds… No one here – not for a minute – takes anything for granted…”

It seems as though they may want to take another look at their own philosophy and do “good words and deeds” by their customers before they sink with no hopes of return. What do you think? Did you back Clearly Canadian?

#NotSoClear

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Vanessa

    April 13, 2017 at 11:20 am

    It took 3 years for me to get my 12 pack of Clearly Canadian Mountain Blackberry. Worth every penny and worth the wait!

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Business Finance

Kodak’s cyrptocurrency could save themselves and photographers

(FINANCE NEWS) Kodak’s foray into cyrptocurrency is more than a financial play, it could be their very salvation in some peoples’ eyes.

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Not one to be left behind, Kodak recently announced their decision to hop on the cryptocurrency bandwagon with their own currency for photographers: KodakCoin. It’s not as hokey as it sounds, we promise.

It’s easy to make fun of Kodak, the Blockbuster of film companies, for buying into the cryptocurrency world, but their motive isn’t as bizarre as it first appears.

KodakCoin is actually a virtual token that will be used on Kodak’s new photographer platform, KodakOne. The idea behind the platform is that photographers can register their work and monetize any cases of copyright infringement, all through the KodakCoin system.

KodakCoin itself is based in the same foundation as Ethereum, and the KodakOne platform uses the same blockchain technology that we’ve come to expect when dealing with cryptocurrency.

As far as KodakOne goes, most of the authentication process is autonomous. Once photographers have uploaded their work and records of fair use, KodakOne searches for instances of unauthorized uploads and then requests payment from the uploader. The payment is processed in KodakCoin, and photographers are left with 60 percent of the resulting currency while Kodak and Wenn Digital share the other 40 percent.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this whole affair is the effect that merely announcing KodakCoin had on Kodak’s stock. After revealing KodakOne and the accompanying KodakCoin at CES on Tuesday, Kodak’s stock hit a high point that more than doubled their previous stock value. This goes to show how infatuated our culture is with cryptocurrency at this point, but it also raises some questions about Kodak’s true motives: is KodakCoin a legitimate enterprise, or a Hail Mary pass?

Kodak’s official stance on the matter is that their move into cryptocurrency represents their initial business goal: to provide photographers with a stable, supportive platform that places their needs and concerns above those of similar venues. On the other hand, sources virtually everywhere have been quick to skewer Kodak for what appears to be an obvious bid for relevancy in an era unsuited for the dinosaur of a company.

There’s no telling where KodakCoin will take the aging company, so for now, these speculations will have to do. KodakCoin goes public on January 31st of this year.

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Business Finance

Super-investor Warren Buffett calls cryptocurrencies a mirage

Famed investor Warren Buffett has stated he believes cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin will end badly because they are a “mirage.”

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For many, cryptocurrencies have become an investment well worth the risk, but for many others they are something to vehemently rail against. Try posting something on Facebook about crypto and see if you don’t get lovers and haters instantly weighing in.

One of the most prominent members of the “rail against” group is CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett.

Buffett, while widely respected for his shrewd investment foresight, is not a fan of cryptocurrency and warns potential investors he thinks, “almost with certainty they [cryptocurrency] will come to a bad ending.”

Buffett went on to state to CNBC, that he didn’t really understand how Bitcoin operated but he would never “have a position in them.”

Will Buffett’s word have an impact on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin? Surprisingly, Buffett’s words have had little effect (so far) on Bitcoin’s value.

Remember a few months ago when Buffett bought Synchrony? The lesser-known stock seemed to take off overnight after Buffett/Berkshire Hathaway’s investment, leading us to believe than many powerful investors take heed of Buffett’s business acumen, which could potentially impact how other investors feel about cryptocurrencies overall.

Buffett told the Washington Post, “there are basically two kinds of assets: one you look to the stream of income it will produce and the other you hope like hell that someone will pay you more for it.” The second type would most definitely include Bitcoin.

Buffett contends that since cryptocurrencies are backed by computer power instead of a national bank, they are unreliable and fluctuate too much to be trusted.

The takeaway?

There is no doubt that Buffett is the go-to man for investments, but how can you repudiate Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies worth if you admittedly do not understand how they work? If you don’t understand how they work, how could you possibly appreciate their value?

I’m not sure if this was meant to be a sarcastic statement on Buffett’s part, or if he genuinely doesn’t understand how they work, but still dislikes them. Back in 2014, Buffett told investors that it was nothing more than a “mirage” and that investors should “stay away from it.”

There’s no doubt, the man is a genius in the business sphere, but is he right about cryptocurrencies?

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Business Finance

Spotify files to go public directly, won’t be the last to buck tradition

(FINANCE) Spotify directly filed to join the stock market late December, forgoing the traditional IPO process. Will other tech companies follow suit?

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It’s official: Spotify, the wildly popular music streaming platform, took a leap and filed with the SEC to become a public company late last year. Many in the tech industry expected this move was in the works, and the news was confirmed by Axios this week.

However, the most noteworthy part of this announcement is how Spotify has chosen to join its competition in the public space.

Instead of entering the stock market through a traditional IPO process, Spotify has reportedly opted for a “direct listing,” which means it won’t need to travel to seek out investors and will bypass bank underwriting fees, among other things. As a direct listing, Spotify could also promote its new business model to the media ahead of its projected Q1 debut, something SEC rules strictly prohibit for IPOs.

The direct listing process could also encourage high stock value sales day-of debut, avoiding a “leave money on the table” situation, which can happen when high net worth individuals and institutional investors get first dibs on IPOs but banks recommend the company only trades up to about 20 percent or so. Under its chosen process, Spotify stock values could debut much higher, driven by demand and what investors are willing – and able – to pay.

By taking this non-traditional route Spotify will, however, forgo potentially millions of dollars they could have fundraised in an IPO. Those dollars could have helped pay down debt or settled lawsuits, but Spotify’s direct listing move seems to be about more than money. Spotify was last valued at $8.5 billion, so it might not need monetary help anyway.

Overall, a direct listing may reduce the hassle of going public. Spotify is just filing paperwork to make it legal for anybody to trade company shares, basically. Direct listing is casual and less structured.

However, some are concerned that chill approach won’t do enough to help Spotify once it’s actually public. Sure, networking with investors to build equity and relationships may be tedious, but those connections could pay off down the road when it’s time for financial reporting and underwriters can help shareholders trade more easily, along with Wall Street sponsorship aids that help buyers and sellers in similar ways, according to David Golden of Revolutions Ventures.

Spotify’s actions could be risky, too, as their stock may not fit customary Wall Street standards and in turn be avoided by some investors, David Menlow, president of IPOfinancial.com, told Marketplace.

For now, all eyes are on Spotify and its decision. Wall Street, industry leaders, and even the SEC are all interested in how their direct listing will play out. As others in the tech space have expressed frustration with the traditional IPO process before (think Uber), more companies may follow suit if Spotify succeeds as a directly listed public company. That could put pressure on Wall Street and the SEC to change the IPO process, too.

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